Blood Eagle

What Is The Blood Eagle According To The Vikings?

According to the Vikings, the Blood Eagle is a form of punishment and execution performed on two occasions. The blood eagle was performed as a sacrifice, and it was also performed as a punishment to the dishonorable individuals.

What is a Viking Blood Eagle?

A Viking Blood Eagle is a graphic form of execution where an individual’s back would be sliced open and the ribs, intestines, and lungs pulled out while the victim was still alive. According to the books of history, the Blood Eagle was a religious rite dedicated to the god Odin with the objective of imparting fear to the enemies of the Viking’s.

It is believed that the process of the Blood Eagle torture would begin with the victim being forced to lay on his stomach. He would then be tied down to restrict any form of movement. The shape of the Eagle would then be carved on the victim’s back. And with an ax, the executioner would take out the ribs of the victim until they created something like a wing on the back of the individual that was being executed.

The blade would, therefore, be placed on the tailbone and then taken up to the rib cage so that it would cut open each of the ribs. And as if that was not enough, the Vikings would then take saltwater and rub it into the wound of their victim. The above was performed to make it even more painful for the individual in the execution. The lungs would then be pulled out to help beautify the wings before the individual passed on.

The Blood Eagle’s executions were a form of revenge administered on the Viking’s enemies, including the Irish and Norwegian kings. Notable is that this form of punishment was not administered to all the enemies rather to the most royal enemies so that it could send a message.

In other translations, it is believed that a less invasive form of blood eagle would be performed. Under this process, a simple carving of an eagle with stretched-out wings would be made on the victim’s bare skin, and then the process of cutting and removing the internal organs would now be made from the front part of the body.

What Is Blood Eagle

Did Vikings Really Do Blood Eagle

The Vikings haven’t really painted a good picture about themselves, we however can’t deny that they were skilled and hardworking. Their negative side appears when they went out on expeditions took on slaves, killed and tortured people. They also looted and raided, they also performed a horrifying form of torture better known as blood eagle, historians are yet to put a finger on a piece of evidence that proves without a doubt that the Blood Eagle was a true undertaking of the Vikings.

It is therefore yet to be established whether the Blood Eagle was a true story or someone’s invention. Needless to say that there are folk legends who recount the ritual as true, and that some leaders commanded their subjects to dance in jubilation after the rite had been performed. There has been literature that links the blood eagle ritual to England. Another thing that makes it difficult for people to believe if the Blood Eagle was real is because the sources of the Dash notes, going back the 9th and 10th centuries Scandinavian are not regarded to as history but just literature.

What’s more, is that the English and Irish accounts conflict with the Scandinavian account of the Blood Eagle execution process? Another fact that directly conflicts with the accounts of the Blood Eagle execution is the fact that most of these rituals were performed in Norse Sagas, and the accounts were also found in poetry. So basically it is believed that the Blood Eagle accounts were just developed for entertainment and not history.

Lastly, there haven’t been many informative sources to back up this theory, meaning that the Blood Eagle can be seen as a fictional account. It is also believed that the monks were the first people to talk about Blood Eagle in Europe as they had suffered from the Viking invasion.

The spreading of the ordeal of the Blood Eagle ritual was, therefore, aimed at making the Vikings look bad. There are Scandinavian sources that mention the Blood Eagle however researchers believe that this could be as a result of a mistranslation of some of the texts or a figure of speech that indicated the death of an enemy.

Blood Eagle Ritual Killing

Who designed the Blood Eagle?

To support the theory of Blood Eagle a Viking leader also known as Earl Torf-Einar carved the Blood Eagle onto the back of his enemy Halfdán Long-legs.

The 12th and 13th-century authors, however, believe that the Blood Eagle was tied to the Scandinavian tradition, the act was performed by the Vikings and it was performed on enemies who offended the Viking’s royalty. To which end there has never been a date attached to the origins of the Blood Eagle. The technique of sacrifice was specially performed as an offering to Odin.

The Norse god Odin is believed to have been the recipient of the Blood Eagle sacrifices. And in other literary texts, it is believed that the Blood eagle was connected to human sacrifices, made to Odin, however, it hasn’t been established whether the sacrifices actually took place.

Also according to Frithiof’s Saga, the Blood Eagle method could also be called Blood Owl, the term was later used by the Antiquarians among other authors that created extensive text about the Vikings.


Individuals who were subjected to the Blood Eagle Sacrifice had to commit a crime that revoked their honor. You might also note that the conventional term used to describe this heinous practice uses an eagle when according to the books of history it was also associated with owls. What’s more according to the Saxo, the term eagle was mostly used by the men who had just crushed their enemy and they, therefore, marked them with the cruelest bird and which was the eagle.